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weasel word

a word used to temper the forthrightness of a statement; a word that makes one's views equivocal, misleading, or confusing.
Origin of weasel word
An Americanism dating back to 1895-1900
Related forms
weasel-worded, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for weasel words

weasel words

plural noun
(informal) intentionally evasive or misleading speech; equivocation
Derived Forms
weasel-worded, adjective
Word Origin
C20: alluding to the weasel's supposed ability to suck an egg out of its shell without seeming to break the shell
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Slang definitions & phrases for weasel words

weasel words

noun phrase

Language designed to deceive; empty talk; self-serving verbiage

[1900+; words as empty as an eggshell that a weasel has sucked]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with weasel words

weasel word

A word used to deprive a statement of its force or evade a direct commitment, as in Calling it “organized spontaneity” is using a weasel word; “organized” has sucked the meaning out of “spontaneity.” This idiom may allude to the weasel's habit of sucking the contents out of a bird's egg, so that only the shell remains. [ Late 1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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